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#truManchester Live Blog: The Future of HR

Charlie Duff of HR Zone is leading the discussion on where the HR industry is heading.

First question from a US participant: Are agency recruiters considered part of the HR industry in the UK?  Yes and No, HR people often see them as being outside the industry, Recruiters think they are in the Group.

What about HR outsourcing?  Do many companies in the UK outsource their HR function?  Does this also include strategy?  Charlie gives the example of New Balance (the running shoe company) who outsource all the way up to a strategic level.

What is the language that upper management speak?  HR need to learn that language, stop talking all pink and fluffy.  Marketing are having that same visibility/ respect challenge.

“Can we get a seat at the board table?”  If Charlie hears that said at a CIPD conference one more time she is going to scream!  Just changing the name to things like Talent Manager etc does not fix the problem.

Perhaps responsibility for HR should be given to the COO rather than trying to change the role of the HR Director.  People are an operational input, the person responsible for the day to day operation of the company most feels the need when there is a staffing deficit so they are probably best positioned to fix it or manage it.  Is the future of HR that it becomes part of the COO’s role?

CEO’s resist having HR Directors at the “adult’s table”; they put them at the kids table.  A really talented CEO recognises the value of a really strong HR Director.

In the US perhaps part of the problem is sexism in that most HR people are women; is there  glass ceiling?Rank and file HR professionals are 80% women in the US; 80% of the HR Heads are men. HR professionals should see themselves as business people who work in HR rather than the other way around.

Whats the value of an organisation like SHRM in advocating on behalf of HR professionals to increase the prominence and value of HR professionals (CIPD being the same thing as SHRM)?

Rather than saying that HR should have a seat at the adults table we should be asking Why?  Many companies should not have a HR Director at the same table as the CEO or COO.  Service companies who rely solely on their staff rather than a product should have the HR person at the same level as the CEO and maybe they already do but they are called something else.

The Future of HR is does our business value people or are we just doing administration?

Maybe HR should market itself to all professions and convince accountants and marketeers etc that they need to know about HR to be successful business people?

What about “HR Business Partners”? People who are aligned to a diverse commercial group and provide them with a wide range of HR resources. Finance does the same thing with Finance Business Partners and it seems to work; the business sees the value and because the HR person is deeply involved with that commercial or operational team, they enjoy their role more and perform better.  It is so important for companies to implement this model correctly.

Can HR professionals effect this type of change from the inside out or does it have to be a strategic decision from the top down?  Sometimes you need to have to know when its time to give up the fight.

HR professionals are really interested in social media but they seem more interested in the potential risks and negative outcomes rather than the business potential.

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